Prairie View A&M President to RetirePRAIRIE VIEW, Texas
Dr. Charles Hines, the president of Prairie View A&M University, in a federal legal battle with faculty and staff members, said last month he would retire this fall.
The Texas A&M University System immediately announced it would appoint Prairie View’s vice president for finance and administration, Willie Tempton, to take over as acting president.
Hines doesn’t plan to retire until Sept. 1 but will be on paid leave until Aug. 31 and “available to support university or A&M System initiatives until his retirement,” says A&M System Chancellor Howard Graves.
“Dr. Hines chose to retire,” the chancellor says. He “has provided leadership to Prairie View A&M University for almost eight years, nearly twice as long as the average university president’s term. I am grateful for his dedicated service to the Texas A&M University system.”
Hines declined comment, a Prairie View A&M spokeswoman said. Graves said Hines would have to answer any questions about whether the litigation influenced his decision to step down.
“I’m just surprised it has taken so long,” attorney Gaines West said of Hines’ departure.
West has represented a number of faculty and staff who have filed suit against Hines, Prairie View A&M and the A&M System, alleging Hines censored those who worked for him and racially discriminated against them.
West said his latest lawsuit against Hines, the school and the A&M system, filed in federal court in Houston on April 18, will move forward. The suit alleges the A&M system racially discriminates against those working at Prairie View A&M with Hines, who is Black, acting as the enforcer by suppressing or eliminating those who step out of line.
“He wasn’t liked by the faculty and he couldn’t handle disagreements well at all,” says physics professor Dr. Dennis Judd, who settled out of court on a lawsuit West filed on his behalf against Hines and the system (See Black Issues, April 25, 2002). “His demise was well awaited and welcomed.”
Judd said disagreement among faculty is common on college campuses, but Hines fostered animosity, which frustrated many.
Others disagreed, saying Hines, who has served as the university’s president since 1994, turned around the historically Black university and worked to make it competitive with some the best universities of its size.
“Dr. Hines was a very visionary person,” says Ikhlas Sabouni, dean of Prairie View A&M’s School of Architecture. “He didn’t want to be just a (historically Black college). He wanted us to benchmark against the best universities.”
Graves, the A&M system chancellor, said a search committee will be appointed to locate a successor for Hines and a new president should be in place by next summer.
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